Winter 2022 Anime Season Impressions Finale

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Well, with this second part now completed, I can safely say that overall, the Winter 2021 season was a real hit-and-miss experience. You would find some fantastic shows, but then you would run into shows that feel like they came out from the hugely mediocre Summer 2021 season. Still, when the good anime show their heads, they do elevate a rather ho-hum season. Still, if half of these anime came out later, and actually had time to be good, then maybe I would be singing a different tune. The anime industry needs to slow down and make sure they are paying and taking care of their animators instead of burning them out and losing more, due to said burnout and overwork. As usual, there needs to be a new deal for animation, not just in Japan and the US, but all over the world. Now then, let’s get started. 


Sports 

Futsal Boys (Funimation)

This anime is part of yet another dreaded mixed media project. It’s directed by Yukina Hiiro, written by Shoji Yonemura, and produced by Diomedea. Am I really going to have to go through another year where most of the sports anime series that were released were awful, with very few of them being good and even fewer being great? Seriously, even with all of the anime industry nonsense going on, we shouldn’t have to wait for another Bakuten level success. While it looks leagues better than Farewell My Dear Kramer, Futsal Boys still suffers from an incredibly bland and boring story that you have seen in so many male-focused sports anime. You have seen these characters before, you know what their arcs are going to be, and the fact that it doesn’t look good on a whole, is resulting in a rather flawed package. It feels like any time I have seen a soccer-related anime, it turns out to not be all that good, and we are getting a total of three or so for now soccer-related anime. Maybe this show will get better, but due to how unimpressed most people are with it, I doubt it will have more time to shine. Plus, too much anime is coming out already, and I personally can’t commit to watching every show I find to be mediocre. 

Tribe Nine (Funimation)

Another original anime by the Danganronpa people? This should have been a real knockout! It’s directed by Yu Aoki, written by Michiko Yokote, and produced by Liden Films. This is pretty much a sports show if it was conceptualized by a child, and that’s both its greatest strength and weakness. It’s a baseball anime where baseball was taken to the extreme via the 90s, and with how unhinged and absurd it can be, when it all hits, the show is a lot of fun to watch, as we see our group of distinctly designed heroes play baseball. Seeing how it’s by the same individuals who make the Danganronpa series, the characters all have very unique looks to them and they have their own personalities as well. The villain, who is voiced by famed content creator Corpse Husband, also does a fantastic job alongside the rest of the English dub cast to bring this world to life. However, during my time watching the show, it felt like it was missing that edge that was in the team’s previous efforts with Akudama Drive from 2020, and the animation quality is underselling the over-the-top nature of this show’s sport. Maybe they should have been given more time to flesh out how to keep the sports parts more exhilarating, or maybe a Studio Trigger simply could have done better, or maybe they should have gotten the team behind SK8 The Infinity to make this show’s action punch a bit harder. Still, it’s a solid sports show with a decent cast and a great dub. Hopefully, it gets better as time goes on. 

Salaryman’s Club (Crunchyroll/VRV)

It really feels like we are back in the Spring 2021 anime season with these sports anime, because this one is the only really good one out of the batch. This is an original anime directed by Aimi Yamauchi, written by Yamauchi and Teruko Usumi, and produced by Liden Films. Well, if you had to look at the two sports anime this season that were made by Liden Films and where the resources went, it’s quite obvious this is where they went. This combination of a group of young men who work at a soda company while also representing the company’s badminton team sounds so odd, but it turns out to be the most compelling sports anime story of the season and one of the most compelling anime of the season. The main character, while acting a touch standoffish at first, quickly becomes a likable individual who has a troubled past with the sport, but opens up more once he joins the company, resulting in a super likable cast of characters. You may have seen characters like these in sports anime before, but it’s always going to come down to the execution, and when the story hits, it hits hard. It’s also one of the loveliest-looking anime of the season if the sports sequences and the lush opening aren’t already a sign of the overall quality of animation. It’s got charm for days. If you like shows like last year’s Bakuten!! (aka Backflip!!) or Free! Dive, then you will love this anime, and in a season that’s mostly sequels and some fairly mediocre titles, it’s a good idea to support the original anime that come out and hit it out of the park like Salaryman’s Club does. 








Action/adventure

Rusted Armors (Crunchyroll/VRV)

CW: transphobic and homophobic moments. 

So, we have yet another multi-media project that includes 2.5D stage plays, and manga by both Hagi and Kairi Shimotsuki doing the two different manga art individually. The anime is directed by Shinmei Kawahara, written by Ohine Ezaki, and produced by Kigumi. Listen, while its CGI is overall extremely lackluster with models that looked like they were ripped from a PlayStation 2 era cel-shaded anime placed on 2D backdrops, it is still only slightly better than Ex-Arm. The fact that the new trend of shows getting made is hiring studios that never worked in anime before and or never worked in CGI animation before is not a good sign for things to come. The characters look like they came out of the more recent Fire Emblem games, but with none of the charm or any actual character development. The first two episodes even have some major transphobic and homophobic aspects. The overall show feels like it was an 80s cartoon made to advertise some toy line that never happened with how macho and “super cool” it’s trying to be. It’s kind of sad how hard the show is trying by the 4th episode to be this serious action drama, but its tone clashes with how bad the CGI is and how lackluster the action is. It might not be as badly inept as Ex-Arm, but this show didn’t need to exist if the team wasn’t given the right time and budget to make it work. This might be the worst anime of the year so far. 

Requiem of the Rose King (Funimation)

CW: a lot of attempted rape. 

So, this anime is based on the manga by Aya Kanno. The anime adaptation is directed by Kentaro Suzuki, written by Hiroki Uchida, and produced by JC Staff. Whether you know about the original source material or not, this show does a bad job of helping you feel invested with this show’s drama and story. It goes at a breakneck pace introducing too many characters that are major players within this show’s story. It also has a lot of drama revolving around our main character being intersexual, and it’s not well handled at all. There is also just a lot of attempted rape. On top of all of this, the animation is not great. It almost leans on not being animated at all, or just doing the bare minimum. Funny enough, with it being a JC Staff-produced show, they almost animate this as they did with Way of the Househusband. The dub cast is trying so hard to make this all work and to make it all compelling, but it’s not enough to help elevate this adaptation. I heard the manga is great, but we are here to talk about the anime, and the anime is easily one of the worst this season and is an early contender alongside Rusted Armors as the worst. 

Orient (Crunchyroll/VRV)

This action show is based on the manga by Shinobu Ohtaka. It’s directed by Tetsuya Yanagisawa, written by Mariko Kunisawa, and produced by A.C.G.T. Honestly, this would be a decently pulpy action show that you would have seen on Toonami in the early days of that program’s run. It’s basically teens fighting demons in a world where demons took over and have basically enslaved humans to become edible slaves. It has a real poppy opening as well that might be the show’s best feature. It also has a female lead who is by far the most interesting character out of the main trio. Too bad it takes until episode 4 for her to arrive, and the show looks like utter garbage. Seriously, this might be one of the flimsiest anime I have ever seen with its real lack of polish across the board. It has wonky designs for background characters, the action isn’t all that stellar, and the whole fantasy world that just happens to have magical motorcycles feels half-baked. I like the idea of what the demons have done to this world, and as the show goes on, it shows the cold nature of humans as well, but it’s a very uneven if somewhat decent series. I can’t personally see myself coming back to this odd and clunky series, but it’s not the worst. 

Girl’s Frontline (Funimation)

Well, this anime is based on the popular mobile game by MICA Team. The anime adaptation is directed by Shigeru Ueda, written by Hideyuki Kurata, and produced by Asahi Productions. A show about a bunch of cute anime girls dressed up like figurines and statues with guns is not as serious as it should be. Everyone is wearing cute anime outfits or sexy attire, and yet this is played dead seriously. It’s also not well animated, so the gunfights aren’t all that thrilling to watch, and due to the nature of the expendability of the dolls, unless they are a specific group shown off, they are hard to care about. Even the opening has better animation than anything in the actual show. It’s almost funny how seriously this show wants to be taken, but unless you really love the game, then you won’t find much to really enjoy here when you can go and watch Princess Connect: ReDive! and have a much better time with fun action, comedy, and character dynamics. 

Love of Kill (Crunchyroll/VRV)

This action/thriller/romance anime is based on the manga by Fe. It’s directed by Hideaki Oba, written by Ayumu Hisao, and produced by Platinum Vision, the same studio that animated Dr. Ramune: Mysterious Disease Specialist. While this show’s production values and tone are uneven, and I think that is because the show is trying to shove in little bits of comedy to break up everything else, this show is very interesting. The real hook and pull of this show is the dynamic between the hitman and the detective as the show slowly, maybe a bit too slowly, unravels why this hitman is connected to this detective. It slowly unravels throughout the first few episodes, and it was able to keep my interest in what was going on between the two. At points, the show doesn’t balance out its tone well, and this really needed more time or more people to polish out the visuals, but I was shocked with how invested I was with this show’s story. 

Tokyo 24 Ward (Crunchyroll/VRV/Funimation)

Well, here we are with the third of the three shows CloverWorks made this season. It’s an original anime directed by Naokatsu Tsuda and written by Vio Shimokura. Out of the three shows CloverWorks put out this season, this one has the biggest uphill battle to get through. It was the last to come out, it had some apparent production issues, and it might become the next victim of CloverWorks production woes as it’s an original show, and who knows how it will hit the landing. Hopefully, this sci-fi action show that is basically Minority Report, but with an anime coat of paint makes its landing, because it’s a really cool show. It has a great world, a fantastic hook, and the third episode ends on a real rock-solid note that definitely made me want to keep watching, since there are now six or so episodes out. I love CloverWorks, but this is the show I’m the most worried about this season not ending well. Hopefully our colorful cast of likable leads, intense trolley problem set pieces, solid CloverWorks level animation, and a rather engaging story keep up throughout the show’s run. 

Sabikui Bisco (Crunchyroll/VRV)

This anime is based on the light novels and manga by Shinji Cobkubo. The anime in question is directed by Atsushi Itagaki, written by Sadayuki Murai, and produced by OZ. When you think of light novels, what comes to mind? Mostly mediocre isekai power fantasies? Well, if your viewpoint on them was as narrow as mine, then Sabikui Bisco is a real fresh change of pace alongside other shows like Faraway Paladin. This anime feels like it came out of the mid-to-late 90s during the time of shows like Cowboy Bebop, Outlaw Star, and Trigun. A futuristic world with a distinct infection known as Rust and a mystery revolving around mushrooms. It feels old- school and part of a time period where so many manga authors wanted to have their take on either Blade Runner, Alien, or Mad Max, but this time, without the more troubling aspects of the late 80s early 90s era of the OVA boom. On top of some stellar action and worldbuilding, our characters are fascinating and instantly hook you with their distinct personalities. It’s a world that feels fully lived and realized, and that’s so rare to find in most anime and just animation in general. You get so much of the history and atmosphere just by looking at all of the characters on screen and the environment in which they live. It’s easily one of my favorite shows of the season and I can’t wait to watch more.

Thanks for reading the review! I hope you all enjoyed reading it! If you would like to support my work, make sure to share it out, and if you want to become a Patreon supporter, then you can go to patreon.com/camseyeview. I will see you all next time!

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